As our country recovers from the economic devastation wrought by COVID-19, the government and private sector are undoubtedly going to expend enormous amounts of energy and money to train members of the workforce whose jobs no longer exist and whose industries have been forever altered.
Job training programs will need to be creative and include community-based organizations that are trusted among their neighbors, that are familiar with the complex array of obstacles holding their communities back, that can identify resident needs and develop wrap-around services that support participants.
One of these is the Caring Connections to Careers program, a comprehensive career-readiness and training initiative created by Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) and the Community Empowerment Association, Inc. (CEA), and supported by a grant from RK Mellon Foundation.
Launched in 2019, members of several low-income, predominantly African-American communities in Allegheny County have been receiving:
* Training in one of four in-demand industry clusters: Allied Health, Business, Information/Applied Technology and various Trades.
We need partnerships – community colleges have the tools to train the future workforce, community organizations know the pulse of their communities and can provide the everyday support their residents need, and a combination of government, businesses and foundations will be needed to provide the funding.